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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 21, 2009 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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biggest banks recently. finally, first lady michelle obama will be at the children's national medical center tomorrow. this all before she and the president depart to hawaii on wednesday. >> mark, we started to hear president obama talk today about the importance of cutting the budget deficit. that seems to be the theme for the obama white house going into 2010 to focus on jobs, the economy, and also fiscal responsibility. are you hearing anything that would suggest otherwise, that -- is there anything that might crowd into the message that they want to put forward? >> david, you're exactly right. that 2010 is going to be a lot about cutting the budget deficit. the question is, when do you do it and by how much. a lot of historians, economic historians point to the fact that fdr actually tried to cut the budget early on during the new deal and they think that was a mistake and actually contracted the economy. this administration and the federal government has been spending a lot of money, the
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question is, when do you stop and start focusing on cutting the deficit. some people think that when you start focusing on the deficit a little too soon, that contracts the economy. >> and then the other question hanging out there, mark, the reconciliation, we've talked a lot about it. it does seem like every time one of the chambers passes something, you think, that's it, and you go, no, there are more negotiations to go. can nancy pelosi keep them in line to get to 218 next month? >> it's going to be tough, particularly on the abortion language to get everyone online. bart stupac coming to the crowd to many pro-choice democrats, it's going to be tough. but nancy pelosi has proven time and time again she can get to 218. of course, this time around might be the most difficult time to do that. but would certainly be a crowning achievement for the speaker. >> in other words, there's still a lot of drama left. mark murray, nbc news deputy political director. thanks as always.
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check out first read first thing every morning, it's updated throughout the day. check into firstread.msnbc.com. that does it for "the big picture." "hardball" is coming up next. 60 votes. they got them. let's play "hardball." good evening. 50i78 chris matthews in washington, leading off tonight, # 0 votes. they did it. the democrats, all of them, every krk in the senate lined up at 1:00 a.m. today to bring this matter to a showdown. it looks like on christmas eve. is this the road to liberal change for america? or does the bill lack the necessary ingredients to create momentum down the road? have the democrats begun to make history, or has compromise hurt too much? plus, arlen specter says the health care debate has been so nasty the senate can no longer
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call itself the most deliberative body. let's examine what he said. can the senate still be the senate if it gets this cranky. and lately, john mccain never misses an opportunity to criticize president obama on health care. gitmo, iran. and here's a new one, he says his former opponent is more partisan than bill clinton. but what about him? what does he have to worry about? something back home, a right-wingser running against him in the next primary? and what about the angry voices out there? will they still be on the left, angry if the president does get his health care bill through this week? and last week our nbc news "wall street journal" poll found dick cheney was the least respected person in this country. george w. bush was first, of course. so who just named cheney conservative of the year? hint, hint, he's a neocon. we begin with the hottest story in town, the health care debate. the political website 538.com
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and darcy, someone i just met, of progressive congress.com. nate, i want you to start off, i'm a huge fan of yours. obviously you're a smart analysts. i love analysts in this business because you can actually predict events rather than popinionater like me. what is your analysis, as hard as you can make it, as to the aspects, attributes of the health care bill, what could have been, would have been, but isn't? >> it provides insurance to 30 million people and does so in a fiscally responsible way. it provides about $200 billion a year in subsidies to poor and sick people. i think it's kind of basically a very good liberal policy classic to help people who are disadvantag disadvantaged. i think you have to overthink this one to call it a, quote unquote, victory.
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>> there are various versions of the health care bill so far. we have a chart up there now. i think it was designed by you. so narrate. >> yeah. i think this bill is a long way short of distem attic reform. still has a lot of inefficiencies. it's a lot better from the standpoint of coverage. we cover most of the uninsured except for illegal aliens. we make sure people don't lose their coverage if they get sick. all these are huge problems, huge priorities for literally decades. i think having a public option or not is fairly trivial as compared to the magnitude the good the bill would do. relative to a $900 billion, it might make it 2% or 3% better. it's not worth quite the attention it's gotten from the left, i don't think. >> darcy, your thoughts, why is the public option important as a forcer of competition among the insurance industry?
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>> well, a big piece of the problem we've had is most americans haven't had adequate access to competition when they want to figure out what health insurance to get. in washington, d.c., you get to choose between two providers. in the senate bill they don't even repeal the antitrust provision, the antitrust exemption. those two providers are allowed to collude to set prices and benefits rather than providing real competition for the american people. the problem with the senate bill is it doesn't provide enough competition and doesn't provide enough checks on the insurance companies. >> your thoughts on that, nate? is it true these companies are able to collude legally, in violation of the principles of antitrust? >> what people might not know is the profit the insurance industry makes is fairly small. about 3.3% over the past five years or so. i think that's money we shouldn't have to spend at all. i think the public could provide adequate insurance without the private sector in this instance. what we're talking about again, a $900 billion bill which maybe
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$15 million or $20 million will cover more people. the bulk goes to people to purchase coverage they couldn't have before. they do have to buy it. the mandate is another issue. we're talking about before of a family just above the poverty line, 75% or 80% subsidized either don't have insurance and get sick and go bankrupt or you have to pay maybe $10,000 for a family policy on an income of $50,000. it makes a lot of improvement. >> why are people like, just to get the point of view across, from your point of view, you and darcy and other people in the network world, if it only makes a 1% or 2% difference in the cost with the public option? >> i think people like darcy have made this a better bill. improvements made in the amendment, that make the bill a little bit better. i think sometimes you have to know when you have to give up the fight and say, this is a
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huge bill we've been fighting for since fdr really. we have to say, this is actually a pretty good bill. assessing what it will do for lower income families for people who can't get coverage because they have a preexisting condition. again, we don't want to overthink this too much. we can talk about the politics, it might be moristing. but this will do a lot of good for a lot of people. >> darcy? >> nate and i are in agreement about a fact. we're just in disagreement about its importance. we both agree that the bill doesn't -- the senate bill doesn't do anything to solve this system problem where we pay twice as much as the rest of the industrialized world for health care that has us with lower life expectancies and higher infant more talts. we are paying too much for the health care we're getting. and the senate bill doesn't do anything to fix that. i think that's an enormous problem when health care is consuming 16%, 17% of the gross domestic product of this country. when the house bill would at least put us on a path where it would be possible to start to fix those problems.
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which the senate bill does not do. >> let's look at barbara boxer on this issue. she's obviously a liberal member from the state of california. >> i went back to the debates. i went back to read the congressional record from 1935, when the debate on social security occurred. it was pretty rough then. and this is a milestone moment. since teddy roosevelt, the congresses and presidents, republican, he was a republican, and democratic had been trying to get americans affordable health care. we are on the precipice. it is not the perfect bill. we all know that. >> are you to the left of barbara boxer? seriously. i think she's a great liberal, a gutsy politician. she's never been gutless ever. you disagree with her position now? >> i think that they could have done more. and should do more. the house bill -- >> where are these extra votes
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they're going to get besides the ones they got? >> how are they going to get 218 votes in the house? they don't have them. i want them to find a reasonable way -- >> you want the senate to vote on something they didn't this time? >> i want the senators to put the -- >> the -- in other words, we can get a more liberal bill than we're getting? >> yes. because frankly, joe lieberman said today the president never pressured him around some of these key issues, never pressured him -- >> he's your witness, joe lieberman's your witness? are you kidding me? are you kidding me? you come here as a progressive. and you tell me that your witness is joe lieberman? >> joe lieberman is saying -- >> i don't care what he's saying. you believe him? that's the whole issue? he's the one you trust? >> i will grant that his credibility is highly questionable on this. >> why are you -- excuse me, i have a problem. this is where the argument's gotten. liberals are quoting joe
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lieberman about what the senate is capable of doing. joe lieberman represents hartford, connecticut. he always will. he won't be a senator for any other state, will he? he's still looking after joe lieberman, right? you're saying you've got a new joe lieberman that you pulled out of your pocket now. i've got a progressive lieberman in here that says he hasn't been pressured enough by obama. you said he wants to be pressured more? >> i am not suggesting joe lieberman is progressive. >> but you're saying he's trustworthy. >> he said today the president never talked to him about the public option or buy-in. >> maybe because he knows who he's talking to. all opinions are valid here. i just don't think joe lieberman is a credible source of information about the chances of progressive legislation in this country. >> i am all for taking down joe lieberman. he deserves everything he's going to get for throwing the american people under the bus. but there is more that the
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senate could, and frankly is going to have to do. the senate is going to have to play ball with the house. the house bill does address things like repealing the antitrust exemption for the insurance companies so they actually have to compete with each other. a national exchange rather than state exchange. >> sounds good for me, too. it sounds good. >> yes. if what we end up with is closer to the senate bill than the house bill, i think it is a good bill. >> closer to the house bill? >> yes. i'm sorry. >> that's all right. >> what's happening right now, though, is -- >> let me ask you. because we have to cut to the chase here. do you think it's better if they get a bill, push it more to the house side? >> yes. >> okay. nate, what do you think? i've been talking to darcy too much for you, but do you think there's going to be a push to just say, use the terms to the left, in the conference report? >> a little bit. we have to remember ben nelson said if you tinker with this too much, he'll vote for a bill
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probably about 29%, 30% popular in nebraska right now. to get hit vote at all, it's a pretty significant achievement by harry reid, maybe by the white house. i wouldn't give the white house a high grade on health care either. it's still a very impressive, but risky, of course, political accomplishment. >> they've pulled the rubber band about as far as it will pull. >> at the very start of the process, obama had been a little more forth right with pushing the public option, it might have mattered. for the most part it's frankly a little better than i thought. especially in an environment where the presidential popularity is down. and the bill only ha about 35% approval. it's a gutsy move by democrats. not the best bill it could be. but they're taking some risks here. >> do you want the last word? do you think there's more give than ben nelson? >> i think ben nelson just got $100 million for the people of nebraska for subsidies.
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and that that's a pretty huge deal for him to walk away from. >> pro-lifers are very tough. very tough. anyway, thank you for joining us. come back again. a nasty health care debate on the hill has led many to wonder, can u.s. senators look beyond politics and be a bit more civil. watching "hardball" only on msnbc. alalalquier lugar que so, at national, i go right past the counter... and you get to choose any car in the aisle. choose any car? you cannot be serious!
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it's not about being bipartisan, you get to take this or leave it. what the american people want to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight. that's what they're praying.
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>> strange use of prayer. that was tom colburn on the senate floor asking for god's help in keeping people from getting to the floor. you've got to wonder how prayer is used these days. anyway, senator dick durbin reacted to that. let's listen. >> i don't think it's appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. and i want him to clarify that. i've invited him, i've tried to reach out to him. he is my friend and i have worked with him. but this statement goes too far. the simple reality is this. we are becoming more coarse and more divided here. >> you've got to wonder, is the senate turning sour? what's going on? the supposed greatest deliberative body. name calling like on a schoolyard. bob casey, a democrat, sits on the health education, labor and pensions committee. senator casey, new to the senate as you are, are you amazed that a senator has invoked god's
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blessing on bad weather, so that the people who are the layman will have a hard time getting through the snow and vote at 1:00 this morning? >> well, chris, it was a very strange statement. even for the senate. but i think we can get past this chapter and begin to work together again. but it was clear many, many months ago that the republicans in the senate had one mission, and that was not just to slow down the process to get a bill passed, they were out to kill the bill. they've been trying ever since. but i think we've overcome that. i think we can pass a bill that will cover 31 million americans. i think it's moving in the right direction. >> explain the conundrum to me, the conflict between the conservatives who are united in believing if they can kill this bill, it really hurts the democratic cause, the liberal cause, progressive cause, and those on the left who can't seem to decide that's the case. >> well, it is difficult, chris, because this, as we've said many times, this is a piece of legislation that's literally going to affect every american
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one way or another. when you have that kind of seismic change, you're going to have the kind of conflicts we've seen in both parties and within both parties. i think once this is in place, once we have a bill that's been enacted and we begin to impre meant it, the tax credits this coming year, not waiting until the full bill is implemented, once that's happening and people are seeing the results of it, i think we'll have a lessening of the rhetoric and conflict. it will take a while. we have our work cut out for us even after the bill is passed. >> let's get down to our shared philosophical belief, senator. and i share it with you. your dad once said heroically that if a criminal defendant has a right to a lawyer in our justice system, that a family has a right to a doctor. how close will we be to that dream and that idea, and that ideal if we pass this bill in the senate this christmas eve? >> well, chris, i think we're very close to that. when you cover 31 million
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americans, who don't have any coverage at all, and when you also put in the kind of protections for people that actually do have coverage. that was one of the more interesting parts of this debate. people who are covered are at risk all the time if they have preexisting conditions, or the limits on their coverage for a year or for a lifetime. so i think we're going to get very close, whether 31 million covered is universal, and whether you've been able to give meaning and integrity to that point of view that everyone has a right to health care, we'll have to see. but i think we're very close to it, or will be very close to it when the bill is fully implemented. >> you're a pro-labor democrat, so let me ask you this. how important was the public option to you in terms of getting a bill and getting a bill with the public option? how many yards differences are there between the two? >> i believe it was very, very important to make that part of the legislation. i voted for it, as you know,
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this summer. >> sure. >> i thought we had worked out not just a good public option for the -- from the democratic point of view, but also one people in the middle even could have confidence in. i thought it was very important for cost control and for injecting competition. i don't think, however, that if we end up at -- without it at the end of the day, when the bill's enacted, that that will remove the chapses that we can control costs and have substantial reform. covering 31 million americans and having deficit reduction of $130 billion over ten years and a lot more, more than $650 billion over the next ten years, that kind of combination i think is going to be helpful in terms of coverage. but also in terms of beginning to control costs. >> okay. senator bob casey of pennsylvania, sir, thanks for joining us on "hardball." new hampshire senator judd greg greg on the budget committee. senator gregg, i've offered the conundrum, i'll offer it to you, why does your side feel it's
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important in defeating this bill and the other side of the aisle can't decide what they believe? >> i think it's not an issue of ideology, just an issue of practical governance. if you grow the government by $2.3 trillion, when you already have a government that you can't afford and headed down a road of debt levels which are unsustainable, it will lead us into some level of fiscal insolvency as a nation in 10 or 15 years, you don't keep digging and add another $2.3 trillion on top of that government. in addition, you've got the medicare situation, where massive amounts of reductions in medicare proposed in this bill, $500 billion in the first ten years, and $3 trillion over the first 20 years, instead of using those dollars to shore up the medicare system, they're essentially used to create a new entitlements. and entitlements never get fully paid for and they go on the debt, too. i think the issue is basically, we don't think in the end, there this significantly helps the
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health care system in this country. i'd like to go to one point you made. does this get closer to getting a doctor for everybody? no, it does not. first, it leaves 24 million people uninsured. >> who are those people? >> and they won't have -- well, according to cbo, they're people who basically don't fall into being qualified for medicaid, which is being expanded, and won't be available to the subsidy for the quasi public plan in the exchange. equally important, the president's own actuary said that because of the massive re dugss in medicare reimbursements here, that about 20% of the medicare providers will become unprofitable and probably leave the system. it will be much harder for a senior citizen to find a doctor. obviously that becomes an issue of availability in medicine, too. >> where is the republican plan that would fill that hole? >> well, i can give you mine.
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>> no, where's the republican plan? you remember the republican caucus all these years, you're a fiscal conservative, been in the senate for a number of terms now, and i've been waiting for the days of teddy roosevelt for the republican party to have a plan for the health care plan. you do find the problems with it, but you don't offer an alternative, do you? or do you? >> actually, there have been a series of alternatives offered by the republican party. we did part the expansion because i didn't support because it wouldn't pay for. we've offered major expansion in catastrophic coverage. we've offered a proposal which was bipartisan which had -- >> but to fill the hole you just mentioned. you mentioned the 20 some million not covered by the plan. is it the republican plan to fill it? >> yes. you use catastrophic insurance. a large percentage of those people are basically younger people who can afford insurance, but decide not to buy it. but rather than requiring them to buy a very expensive health
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care plan, which they don't need all the bells and whistles on it, you strip down a plan so if they're seriously injured or serious illness their care will be taken care of. give them an hsa possibility where they can save money for the purposes of the day-to-day costs of health care. there are a lot of different ideas out there. that's the one that's most attractive to me. unfortunately, we didn't get to offer it as an amendment, because as you know, this bill's only been on the floor for 48 hours and we'll be forced to vote on it almost instantaneously. >> what's wrong with the senate? they're talking about the partisanship, it's a weird way to do business. what's going wrong in your lifetime as a senator that's -- too many house members? what's going on here? >> well, that's a superb question. i don't know the actual answer to that question. but i think it's a variety of
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factors. i would put at the top of the list, the fact that the efforts to reach bipartisanship seem to have failed on this bill. we're doing bipartisan things, other things in the senate. conrad and i have a good proposal and working on regulatory reform. but this bill was so big, and the different interest groups are so hugely invested in it, we weren't able to reach a bipartisan agreement. the majority decided to use the rights of the majority to try to ram it down the throats of the minority, and the minority's using its rights to make sure that doesn't happen. so we're in this very, i think, unfortunate situation. more than unfortunate. with you're having these midnight votes and basically not getting good debate and good airing of the issues and the amendment process has basically been side tracked. that's not what the founding fathers wanted out of the senate. we were supposed to be the saucer into which the hot coffee was poured.
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unfortunately we're becoming the hot coffee urn. >> i at one time wanted to be a senator and given up on it. why are you walking away from it? >> because i've been in government now for 30 years. and my wife and i have dedicated a large part of our life, obviously, almost all our professional life, to public service and we decided it was time to move on. i'm a big admirer of the senate. the senate is filled with really good people. they're hard working, thoughtful, intelligent. sometimes we disagree. bob casey, he's one of the most talented people in the senate. really talented guy. this is a good institution. just sometimes it runs off the rails because we get so intensely involved in some of these issues. but this is an unusual issue in that instance. >> you know where you're going to be new year's eve. i'm sorry, christmas eve. >> hopefully not new year's eve. >> senator judd gregg of new
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hampshire. he's been out of office almost a year, just won this title, conservative of the year. i love the way i said that. hear why he got this title and who he got it from.
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back to "hardball." first up, soldiers of the right over human events magazine came out today with their conservative of the year award. they gave it to the bathtub ring of the bush administration himself, that residue of eight years that won't leave us, dick cheney. here's neocon john battleman, explaining the pick. "cheney's quiet, inner-directed motivation is simply impreservious to the attacks orchestrated against him by the chicago machine style
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politicians at the white house. it's yet another important reason to have confidence that cheney's solid policy analysis will yet prevail in the national political arena. funny you should mention chicago. his policy analysis as you call it included quietly as you put it running an office that ended up being prosecuted by the sufficient attorney based in chicago. there's the chicago connection. for five felony counts against cheney's chief of staff. not exactly the nobel prize for peace, is it? by the way, is breaking the law in the kraflt leak case the current definition of conservative? for the big number tonight, when it comes to paying out over health care reform, who's the top's big phrma. how much have they spent, that lobbying organization, to in just the first nine months of 2009. $199 million. the most any industry has spent on lobbying in a nine-month
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cycle. $199 million, the big number. wondrous news on the home front. my high school, won the pennsylvania football championship. they beat state college high up at hershey in a real snow ball that vince lombardi would have loved. we're talking pennsylvania, by the way. the home of a lot of kids in the coal mining area, real deer hunter country, the home turf of joe paterno and penn state. they're in the trophy case for every freshman in my high school to see. since this year's best football team in pennsylvania, lasalle high school. all-boys catholic high school, a place where the team and the band and the fans know, because they have proven it again. the greatest require greatness and they brought it all home to the classmates and parents, all wrapped up for christmas. the pennsylvania state
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championship for football in the big schools. lasalle high school. up next, senator john mccain seems to be leading the charge against president obama on health care and global warming. is he just mad or what? walgreens wants to remind you that there's no greater joy than the joy of giving, whether you give a little part of yourself or something else. like unique stocking stuffers from walgreens, all at great prices. hey, that tickles! so come in and stuff all your stockings in no time. with a great selection of fun and useful gifts for everyone on your list, walgreens makes stuffing those stockings a breeze. and i like a cold breeze. walgreens. there's a way to find your joy. ♪ walgreens. there's a way to find your joy. let the all-new campbellskitchen.com help bring your family to the table this holiday. from timeless favorites like campbell's green bean casserole to new classics like swanson herb roasted turkey with pan gravy and pepperidge farm holiday brie en croute
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good day. i'm tyler mathisen with the market wrap. stocks a little higher today. the dow jones industrial average up 85 points. it closed at 10,414. nasdaq jumped about 26 points. tech stocks hot. both the s&p and nasdaq finished
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at 14-month highs. the numbers show increase in companies hiring temporary workers. that may suggest employers may soon begin to hire full-time permanent workers once again. bureau of labor statistics says temp staffing increased in november, the largest jump in five years. on the other side, ford motor offering buyouts of retirement packages to all of its 41,000 hourly workers. a spokesperson said the automaker still has more workers than it needs given current sales levels. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to hart ball. senator john mccain has seized on just about every opportunity to criticize president obama and his democrats. he led the charge against the
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president's timetable in afghanistan. he criticized the decision to move guantanamo detainees to u.s. prisons. bashed health care reform. slammed al franken for shutting down joe lieberman the other day. the maverick turned republican loyalist accused the president offing more partisan than, guess who, bill clinton. >> has he been the president he promised when he ran against you? >> no. in this respect. he said there would be a change in the climate in washington. there's been a change. it's more partisan. it's more bitterly divided than it's been. >> more partisan than bill clinton? >> in some ways, of course, yeah, at least under hillary, they tried seriously to negotiate with republicans. there has been no effort that i know of that is serious across the table negotiations, such as i have engaged in with democrats and other administrations. and that was the commitment that the president made.
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>> that's called the alley-oop, by the way, by my friend chris wallace. i put the ball near the rim, more partisan than bill clinton? yes, yes. eugene robinson, "washington post" columnist and political analyst, pat buchanan, of course. people have lost presidential hopes. the great bob taft almost was president a couple of times and became this spiritual leader, mr. republican. is that what john mccain's up to, to become mr. republican? >> i think mccain has this point. he was a bipartisan vote. he had the gang of 14. you'd have seven republicans, seven democrats. even on immigration reform, which i was against, he had a lot of republicans with him. i think the democrats have so structured this thing, that they've got every single republican against him. certainly in the house, on the stimulus package and health care, and in the senate they don't even have olympia snowe. if you will, mccain's got a point, he's been driven awap
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from the idea of bipartisanship. is he supposed to go out there and stand alone? joe lieberman stood alone. do you call him a maverick? >> you know, you do it well. another side, please? let's turn the pillow over to the cold side. >> first of all, there used to be more than perhaps two moderate republicans in the senate. there used to be enough to make a gang of 14. there's just not enough anymore. to lay all this at the feet of the democrats is, i think, absurd, given the fact that the republicans have basically decided to say no. just no, no, no. >> oftentimes it tends to be true, could it be that john mccain as good as man as he is and a patriot as clearly as he is, he's facing what looks to be perhaps a right wing challenge at home in arizona. he doesn't have to worry about the general election in arizona for the rest of his career. he only has to worry about somebody from a wing, from a wing, from the right wing out there challenging him.
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isn't what's his name going after him hay worth, the radio guy? >> a buddy of mine. >> you're smiling. who would you for? >> i would vote for j.d. >> you now sized it up. all that foreplay you gave me two months ago it's really about the fact that it's a to fight off the right wing guy. >> i would say certainly it's a factor there. he is the leader of the republican party. he's its nominee. he can't be up there, one guy -- >> why is he jumping into the fight, like you would do, jumping in on the side of lieberman and the intramural fight with al franken. >> that was a terrible thing al franken did. a young freshman senator gaveling down a senator. that insulted the guy. >> they were under -- the whole party was doing that. the parliamentary was doing that in his ear. >> i didn't see one guy stand up
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and say what al franken did was a nice thing to do. >> here's mccain and what he had to say about what happened. >> i have always taken every race that i'm in seriously, no matter who's running against me. but the fact is i have gotten back in the arena. i have fought for the things i believe in. i believe the job of the loyalty opposition is to work with the president and the democrats where you can. but where it's philosophically, fundamentally different, do everything you can to see that your point of view prevails. >> i wonder if he hasn't changed. he used to be the darling of the press corps. remember that, when he was taken off bush. >> i'm not going to say there's some sort of resentment that someone else was the darling of the press corps. >> i think i'm off it. what do you think? >> i think i kind of am, too. but look, are we really sitting here and predicting that john mccain, for any length of time, is going to be an orthodox anything? i mean --
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>> you said something that is absolutely brilliant, as i often expect from you. you said whatever he is now he'll change. because he's always changing. >> yes, he does. that's john mccain. that's his history. why do we expect it to be different. >> give me the side of the dna of this guy politically. what makes him every six months or so, just when you think you've got him down, a maverick, not really conservative, and he says, i don't like what you're calling me. >> i think he's an iconicclast. but he also is -- >> is he out to screw with our heads? is that -- >> no -- >> keep everybody guessing. i like to do it, pat. >> look at his political interest in 2000. he had bush, you had the right pretty much locked up. and he's got the -- >> slimed him down in south carolina. >> the press guys on the bus are
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adoring him. he's playing to them. also, he doesn't like right wingers. they've given him a very bad time and he has a natural tendency to go get in fights with people. he's a fighter. >> like somebody else i know. >> yeah, that's right. >> merry christmas, pat. >> but wait until the -- >> by the way, i was just at a wedding party this weekend, with my family, he's got the strangest supporters out there. i can't explain you. congenial, but on the right. don't get wrong about this guy. >> but, you know, wait until something about the orthodox republican party ticks him off. >> and i bet he'll go for path to citizenship. if he wins the -- >> absolutely. >> i think he'll switch back, because he'll have six years, because that's what he believes. >> is he a maverick or right winger? >> i think he's an established republican, nafta, open borders.
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i've got an issue really important to me he's on the other side. it's not obama's fault, i think he's tries to be bipartisan. the democrats have driven this party together. they really have. look at the -- >> it couldn't be mitch mcconnell. it couldn't be the man behind the curtain, mitch mcconnell, who is leading the most obstructionist minority party we've ever seen. he won't even come on television and say something night. he just sits behind the curtain and holds things up. the democratic, the senate is going to be voting on christmas eve at 7:00 because of what? the nice guy behavior by the republicans or obstructionism? >> you say obstruction on christmas eve. it's fine to gavel down joe lieberman. >> let's bring in at 92-year-old guys at 4:00 in the morning. let's bring them in wagons. you smile about it. but you're ruthless. pat buchanan, gene robinson, merry christmas. have you ever gotten a pulitzer
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prize out of this board? up next, democrats got to 60 votes they needed for health care. but some say still kill the bill. what's that all about. [ female aouncer ] we were flattered when regenerist beat the $100 cream. flabbergasted when we creamed the $700 cre! for under 0 regenerist micro-sculpting cream hydrates better than 32 of the world's most expensive creams. fantastic. phenomenal. regenerist. sometimes it's the little things, like the rich, creamy taste of cool whip, that turns a moment into a memory. the one and only cool whip. make the moment. make it cool whip.
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so, at national, i go right past the counter... and you get to choose any car in the aisle. choose any car? you cannot be serious! okay. seriously, you choose. go national. go like a pro.
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to start losing essential nutrients? not long. in fact, green beans lose half their vitamin c in a week. that's why green giant freezes them within 8 hours to lock in nutrients. ho ho ho green giant welcome back. time for the politics fix. jonathan martin and steve
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kernanke. i've always said to people, if you want to understand politics, don't watch the speeches, go to the conventions. watch voted party line and that's how we're creating a brand new era of health care in this country it looks like. >> i think what the people are seeing is a question of what they see now and what they are going to see in i don't know, two, three, four, five years. the parallel that i draw, if you can remember the start of bill clinton's presidency, back in '93, he actually had a budget that passed through, very contentious, strictly party line
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votes. all of the senate republicans were against it. passed by a single democratic vote. the democrats said then what they say now, we have people that are going to reward us for t of course, they didn't. >> what caused that down fall of the democrats in '94? i've never been quite sure. i thought it was real anger over health care and the attempt by the clintons and hillary clinton. they didn't like the they fulfill the expectations and what happened was it started to work and wall street's conference was re-elected and we had the roaring '90s. a lot of the stuff is not going to be implemented until 2013,
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2014, something like that. in the short term, it's going to be very easy to score amongst us. i wonder a few years from now when it's implemented and people begin to feel it, does it begin to change? >> by the way, the implementation will probably occur during the next term for president. >> right. but when you have to get 60 votes, it's not pretty sausage making. when you come down to one or two votes like clinton when he was passing his budget, you have to talk to them about, okay, what do you need? >> here's an appoint d senator, michael bennett, who was criticized because he can't complain enough to get some pork. here he is complaining about the complaint. this is how bad it got.
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>> only in washington will someone be attacked for not negotiating a back room deal and just because others choose to engage in the same rituals doesn't mean that i have to. so i have a message for the columnist, the political professionalists and those back home, i'm not happy about the back room deals. i'm not happy that the public was held hostage by people in our own party. i do not support rewarding delay with special deals. don't let others specialize their vote and their tactics. >> no matter what they say they want to grab the pork and run. do they? >> michael bennett has taken the high road strategy but he's not going to apologize for getting medicaid for free from now. >> will anything change? john, stay with us. steve, you're first when we come
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back. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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we're back with the politics fix. it seems to me now, if you look at where this heads between now and the state of the union in late

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